News / USA

US Women's Field Hockey Team Aims for London Podium

x
US Women's Field Hockey Team Aims for Podium in Londoni
|| 0:00:00
X
June 28, 2012
The United States has won only one medal in women’s Olympic field hockey, and that was a bronze when the nation hosted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. But this year’s team has high expectations that it will reach the podium at the London Olympics. VOA’s Parke Brewer explains.
TEXT SIZE - +
Parke Brewer
The United States has won only one medal in women’s Olympic field hockey, and that was a bronze when the nation hosted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.  But this year’s team has high expectations that it will reach the podium at the London Olympics.  
 
After receiving an automatic berth as host of women’s Olympic field hockey at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, the United States failed to qualify for the event at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.  So it hired a new coach in 2005, Lee Bodimeade,  who won a silver medal playing men’s field hockey for Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

He says his philosophy of the game, and the fact that the culture of Australian and American sports are similar, helped him get the job.

“It’s an aggressive mentality to go and get the ball," said Bodimeade. "And my real belief is empowering the athletes and having them be the driver to success which is ultimately what determines it.  And I wanted to give them the freedom to be able to play and make decisions on the run and, as I said, empower them to have the knowledge and ability to do so.”

Bodimeade guided the American women to a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  They were rated 11th in the 12-team field and finished 8th.  Seven of the Beijing players are on Bodimeade’s team for the London Games.
 
“What’s transpired since then is we have an addition of young, fast, skillful athletes that are elevating the performance, and so that’s what we’ve got," he said. "We’ve got the base level of senior players that have a very, very good fundamental base of skill, and now we have the real sharp elevated skill level from the newer players in the group.”

The U.S. women upset then-world number-one Argentina at last year’s Pan American Games in Mexico to earn an automatic Olympic berth  And in a recent series of pre-Olympic warm-up matches against the world champions in Virginia, the Americans and Argentines each won once and played to two draws.
 
Bodimeade says it is important for his players to test themselves against the best.

“Everything is about being able to execute the basic skills under extreme pressure and at speed," he said. "And the more you’re exposed to that, the more you’re able to adapt and be able produce at that level.  And we’ve really worked hard on our basic skill level and being able to do that under pressure, and that has driven our elevation of performance.”

The captain of the U.S. women’s field hockey team is 27-year-old central defender Lauren Crandall.

Bodimeade calls her an exceptional, disciplined hockey player who drives the team.

“She has to be all things.  She has to be smart," he said. "She has to be able to read the play exceptionally well, her ability to distribute [the ball] and to set our attacking plays.  She’s the key to it, and that’s what she does very well.”

Crandall grew up playing soccer, but switched to field hockey in high school.  She says she never had thoughts of competing in an Olympics.  She just loved the competition and worked hard at the sport without knowing where it might lead her.

Now, with recent successes, she and her teammates believe they can win an Olympic medal in London.

“You know we’re ranked 10th in the world right now, but we feel like if we follow the process like we have been and taking the steps that we need to, we’ll put ourselves in position to be standing on the podium at the end of the London Games," said Crandall.

To do it, the United States will need to get through round-robin matches in a difficult Pool B that includes Argentina, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa.

Coach Bodimeade says his team is ready for the challenge.

“Nobody goes to the Olympics for experience in my book," he said. "You are going there to win.  And that’s the belief that I have.  We’re going in there to put in these performances that will give us the result that we want.”

And that is to capture the first Olympic medal for U.S. women’s field hockey since 1984.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid